Monday, February 17, 2014

Apply for Low Intrest Credit Card Online

Low rate interest credit cards have a low interest rate on purchases and are ideal for those who don’t always pay off their card in full each month. Low rate interest credit cards are an ideal choice for those who are looking for the much needed financial flexibility to become debt free. Many of you many wonder how low interest rate credit cards can help get you out of debt, when it appears on the surface, that most credit cards seem to help get people into debt. But if used wisely and with discipline, these type of cheap credit cards can provide the right kind of financial assistance during any tough financial crisis.

Low interest credit cards is one that charges a low annual percentage rate (APR) on an accrued balance. With banks heavily commercializing the credit card, there have been a plenitude of low interest credit cards. Many banks provide zero percent APR (Annual Percentage Rate) on balance transfers and purchases made during the first 12 months. These credit cards offer you safe, secure, and free online transactions and account management tools. You can search for a new low interest credit cards online, the annual interest rate, or APR seems to be the only important factor, and many will only check out low interest credit cards before making an online credit card application. Credit card issuers also tend to advertise the low interest credit cards more that any other kind of card.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"Dexter" malware steals credit card data from point-of-sale terminals

A researcher has uncovered new malware that steals payment card data from point-of-sale terminals used by stores, hotels, and other businesses.

Dexter, as the malware is called, has infected hundreds of point-of-sale computers at big-name retailers, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses, according to a report issued by Aviv Raff, chief technology officer of Israel-based security firm Seculert. Businesses infected in the past three months are located in 40 different countries, with 30 percent of those compromised located in the US, 19 percent in the UK, and nine percent in Canada. Malware that infects point-of-sale terminals can be one of the most efficient ways to carry out payment card fraud because it targets machines with access to large amounts of the required data.

"Instead of going through the trouble of infecting tens of thousands of PCs or physically installing a skimmer, an attacker can achieve the same results by targeting just a few POS systems with specially crafted malware," Raff wrote. "Dexter is one example of such malware."

Dexter has infected systems running a variety of different versions of Windows, including XP, Home Server, Server 2003, and Windows 7. Once installed, Dexter uploads the contents of computer memory to a server located in the Republic of Seychelles. An online parsing tool then attempts to ferret out Track 1 and Track 2 card data processed by various POS applications. The data is then retrieved by the malware operators, presumably for the purpose of cloning payment cards. More on Dexter here.
It remains unclear how POS systems are infected by Dexter, which gets its name from a string of text found in one of its files. The large percentage of infected Windows servers suggests Web-based exploits and social engineering traps aren't likely vectors, since those types of machines typically aren't used to browse Web pages. Raff declined to identify the businesses infected by the malware.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bank manager falls into credit card trap

Kochi: A senior bank official was having his breakfast at an eatery in Kottayam near his bank on Friday morning when he received an SMS stating that a transaction of Rs 489.54 was made on his credit card at a leading restaurant.

A baffled Sudiv Chandra Kumar, manager with the SBT at Kottayam, was about to pay his breakfast bill when another SMS came saying a transaction of `60 had been made at an Apple i-tunes store.

He immediately rang up his home in Thiruvananthapuram to reconfirm that his SBI credit card was safe there.

As he was doing so, came another SMS for a Rs 3,090 transaction at the Apple store, to be followed by another for Rs 1,350 again at the store. All this happened in the space of 15 minutes, before he reached his office and made calls to the customer care to block the payments from his card.

The card had been left safe at his residence in Thiruvanathapuram for nearly a week. "I have been using the card sparingly, at times to buy provisions from a supermarket in Thiruvananthapuram or to make some purchases, just twice or thrice, from some emarketing firms. And that was done from my personal computer at home," he adds.

What surprises the officer is that the payments have been done when the secret password for an online transaction is known only to him. Inquiries pointed to the transactions being done in Mumbai. He has taken up the matter with the cyber cell. The card expires in December and Sudiv has already got the new one.

There, however, was some relief the next morning when he got another SMS stating that a payment for Rs 60 at the Apple store had been blocked.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dateless stung in card con

TASMANIANS using online dating services are being targeted by international credit card scammers, police warn.

Scammers are posting fake profiles on dating sites to meet unwitting Tasmanians, who receive goods bought online using stolen credit cards.

They are then asked to forward the parcels to an overseas address.

The fraud and e-crime division of Tasmania Police is investigating several reports from retailers about goods bought online using stolen credit cards.

Detective Sergeant Natasha Leaman said at least one Tasmanian man had been charged after he was allegedly caught up in a scam that netted $45,000 of goods bought using stolen credit cards.

The 67-year-old was charged with dealing in the proceeds of crime after allegedly forwarding goods to Cambodia.

"He'd receive 20 or 30 packages a week and then take them down to the post office and send them to a person in Cambodia," she said.

Scammers use a number of excuses to enlist the help of lonely hearts online, many of whom don't realise the goods have been bought with stolen credit cards.

The most common excuse given by scammers is the store the item was bought at won't post goods overseas, Det-Sgt Leaman said.

"In some instances the scammers will send money (to the person) via a money transfer service to pay the costs of postage," she said.

Police warned scammers went to great lengths to create fake profiles on legitimate internet dating services.

In some cases, Tasmanians were also convinced to send their own money to the scammer.

"Scammers will prey on unsuspecting victims who trust easily and fall for financial or personal hardship stories," Det-Sgt Leaman said.

"Once the scammer has the trust of the victim they will ask for money or gifts to be sent abroad.

"A common method is to fake an illness and request money for medical bills or profess undying love for the victim and request financial assistance for travelling costs to see the victim in person."

Police said people using online dating services needed to be wary about providing personal information online and take steps to verify the claims people are making.

How to Get Back at Your Credit Card Company

Stand Up to Your Credit Card Company

Got a beef with your credit card company? If customer service won't help, you may want to bring your credit card dispute to someone who carries a bigger proverbial stick.

You have a lot of choices. A number of agencies are ready to stand with you during disputes over interest rates, mysterious charges, stolen credit card numbers and a host of other credit card issues.

Bankrate has compiled a list of some of the biggest players, ranging from nonprofits to government agencies. Check out where they're located, how they can help and the best ways to contact them.

Credit card police: The BBB

The Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit that takes complaints from consumers, publishes free reviews on credit card companies and assigns the companies "grades" based on its opinion of the business. The headquarters vary by state.

When to use: You have mysterious charges on your credit card.

How they help: If you cannot work out your grievance with your credit card company, the agency offers free mediation and arbitration services. Most issues are typically resolved within 30 days.

Contact: File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

Credit Card Police: The FTC

The Federal Trade Commission is a government agency that's responsible for preventing unfair business practices for consumers. The headquarters are in Washington, D.C.

When to use: You want to file a complaint against your credit card company.

How they help: The bureau does not resolve individual consumer complaints, but it documents them and works with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, to regulate consumer financial products and services.

Contact: Contact the Federal Trade Commission.

The Federal Trade Commission is a government agency that's responsible for preventing unfair business practices for consumers. The headquarters are in Washington, D.C.

When to use: You want to file a complaint against your credit card company.

How they help: The bureau does not resolve individual consumer complaints, but it documents them and works with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, to regulate consumer financial products and services.

Contact: Contact the Federal Trade Commission

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a government agency that polices banks and other financial companies with the goal of restricting unfair or deceptive acts. The headquarters are in Washington, D.C.

When to use: You have billing and annual percentage rate/interest rate disputes, issues with closing an account, or concerns about identity theft or fraud.

How they help: Once you file a complaint, the bureau will forward the grievance to the credit card company, giving it 15 days to respond, with the expectation of resolving the issue within 60 days. The bureau can take civil action against companies.

Contact: File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Credit Card Police: Your State Attorney General

The state attorneys general are chief legal advisers and law enforcement officers for each state government. The headquarters vary by state.

When to use: The state is investigating claims of shady practices by your credit card company.

How they help: Your attorney general can file a lawsuit against your credit card company but only as counsel for the state (not for you personally).

Contact: Check out the contact list for all state attorneys general offices nationwide to determine if your complaint warrants attention.

Credit Card Police: The Secret Service

The Secret Service is a federal law enforcement agency that's responsible for protecting the nation's financial infrastructure and payment systems. The agency is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

When to use: Your credit card number has been "skimmed" on an ATM, or you're a victim of some other kind of ID theft.

How they help: The Secret Service conducts criminal investigations on those who have committed identity theft and fraud.

Contact: Your local Secret Service field office can determine if the issue falls within Secret Service jurisdiction.

Credit Card Police: The FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigationis an investigative agency that tackles complex, elaborate cases of fraud posing a severe threat to the U.S. economy. The agency's headquarters are in Washington, D.C.

When to use: You're a victim of a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme.

How they help: The FBI cannot levy fines but will refer your complaints, as needed, to the appropriate law enforcement or regulatory agency.

Contact: Find your local FBI office to determine if the violation falls within FBI jurisdiction.

Read more:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

PayAnywhere Mobile App and Credit Card Reader Now Available from

PayAnywhere (, the professional grade mobile point of sale solutions provider, today announced that®, the world's largest online retailer, will be selling both the PayAnywhere mobile app and the award-winning PayAnywhere credit card reader across its online properties. Online orders of the PayAnywhere card reader will be fulfilled and shipped directly from Amazon, and the PayAnywhere app is available for instant download from the Amazon Appstore.

PayAnywhere is the payment industry's only enterprise grade, mobile point of sale solution suited for any size business. With the most comprehensive set of features available and 24/7 customer support, the PayAnywhere mobile point of sale solution is designed specifically to meet the mobile point of sale needs of real businesses, available for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android and BlackBerry devices.

"With businesses purchasing more and more online, Forrester predicts an estimated $559 billion in B2B sales will take place via the web in 2013. As more businesses turn to online retailers for their everyday purchases, it is increasingly important for PayAnywhere to make our card reader available on the websites that businesses are visiting the most," says Scott Addyman, vice president of sales, PayAnywhere. "Amazon is one of the most visited Internet retail destinations worldwide and, as a one-stop shop, businesses of all sizes use Amazon to purchase a wide range of supplies. This makes Amazon a natural fit as the next large retailer to offer the PayAnywhere mobile point of sale solution."

Starting today individuals and business owners can now purchase the PayAnywhere reader, online at Once the credit card reader is activated, PayAnywhere includes a $10 rebate as reimbursement for a suggested retail price of $9.99. As a special offer for those who buy PayAnywhere from, PayAnywhere is offering $1,000 in free processing within the first 30-days of account activation.

With PayAnywhere there are no hidden fees; no setup, monthly or cancellation fees. Individuals and business owners using PayAnywhere enjoy a low 2.69 percent fee for swiped transactions and some of the fastest payouts in the industry, with transaction funds typically deposited in accounts within two business days, reducing the wait for important cash flow.

In addition to the mobile app and card reader, PayAnywhere offers an online portal for creating extensive custom transaction reports, setting up email alerts, viewing customer receipts, monthly statements and more.

Setting up a PayAnywhere account is fast, easy and free. Once the PayAnywhere reader is purchased from, users simply download the free app from Amazon Appstore, the Apple App Store, Google Play or BlackBerry App World and follow the in-app instructions to sign up for their account. Approval takes only a few hours, allowing the business or individual to begin accepting credit and debit card payments the very same day the reader is purchased.

The PayAnywhere card reader is available on at and the PayAnywhere Android app is available from the Amazon Appstore at

About PayAnywhere

Created by a multi-billion dollar credit card processing company with more than two decades of merchant payment processing experience, PayAnywhere is powering a payments revolution with its enterprise-grade, "pay-as-you-go" mobile payments system. PayAnywhere's mobile point of sale (POS) technology combines the industry's most comprehensive enterprise-grade features with 24/7 customer support. For more information visit

PayAnywhere is a registered trademark of PayAnywhere. iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® are registered trademarks of Apple® Inc, registered in the U.S. and other countries. Android™ is a trademark of Google Inc. BlackBerry® is a property of Research in Motion Limited. Amazon® and® are registered trademarks of, Inc.

Monday, December 3, 2012

ANZ credit cards rated five stars by Canstar

ANZ credit card products have received the highest number of five-star ratings of any major bank in the latest CANSTAR ratings for credit cards.

ANZ received seven five-star ratings across all credit card categories at the annual CANSTAR Credit Card Awards, which were announced on Saturday.

CANSTAR researched 63 credit cards offered by 12 lenders in their latest star ratings report. Each credit card was filtered through four common user profiles to determine the card's suitability for each type of spender.

The awards are based on the pricing and features of credit card products offered by major banks in New Zealand. ANZ increased the number of five-star products from two to four.

"This result reaffirms ANZ as having New Zealand's leading credit card product suite," says Kerri Thompson, Managing Director Retail for ANZ Bank New Zealand.

"We have brought together the best products of ANZ and National Bank, and this is a fantastic endorsement of how strong our credit card range now is.

"We know our customers use their credit cards in different ways which is why we designed our product and pricing to cater for different needs.

"Products that earned five stars included our cashback product that is unique in the market, giving cash rewards directly on credit card spending.

"Our Airline credit cards, including the ANZ Airpoints Platinum, which is the fastest earning Airpoints Visa card in the market, were also recognised with a five-star rating."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Credit Cards and Kids: Should you let Your High Schooler Have a Credit Card?

Your 16-year-old wants a credit card for essential shopping trips and school excursions. That way, she explains ever so reasonably, she doesn't have to carry wads of cash or drag you along to the mall, and she's covered in case of an emergency.

Meanwhile, you envision wild spending sprees and whopping credit card bills. Should parents ever add teens as secondary card holders to their accounts? The answer depends on a variety of factors, and there is no correct answer for everyone. Here's what you should consider:

Financial experience before credit card

Children who have handled a savings account, earned money from household chores or a part-time job, and saved money for special purchases are better prepared for handling financial responsibility than those who haven't had any experience with making and saving money. Make sure your child is grounded in some basic money know-how before handing over a credit card. Have you taught your child about interest rates and how credit cards work?

Your kid's maturity

Kids mature at widely varying rates. Consider your child's personality and maturity level. Can you trust your kid to keep track of a credit card and follow your limits for credit card use? Not sure if they'll be able to handle it? This may not be the area you want to give them a chance to prove you wrong.

The good and the bad

Under the CARD Act, those under 21 years old will find it hard to get a credit card without providing income information, which could make it challenging for most students to start building good credit. So, on the up side, your child could get a nice start on their credit profile if the responsible credit use is reported to any of the three major credit bureaus. However, keep in mind, any negative items that happen on the account will affect all account holders. If you forget a payment on the account, it can harm your teen's credit as well as your own.

Credit card use: The ground rules

Decide how your child should use the credit card. Will there be a spending limit? Will your teen be allowed to use the card only in certain situations or for certain purchases? How will your teen pay for purchases? Will you keep the credit card and give it to your child as needed, or will your teen hang onto it?

Credit card policies

Credit card companies' policies for secondary card holders vary. Some have minimum age requirements. Some provide a different number for a secondary card; some provide the same number. Not all companies list purchases by the secondary card holder separately on the billing statement. Most companies report the primary account holder's payment history on the secondary card holder's credit report, although some companies don't do this for card holders under 18. Check your card issuer's policies for details.

Deciding whether to give your teenager access to your credit card account is a big decision. Give the matter plenty of thought and do what's best for you and your kid.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Merchant Data Systems Bring New Credit Card Processing Opportunities to Aquariums

Merchant Data Systems has recently announced a team up with Karma Snack, a leader in internet marketing. The team up aims to provide businesses, both large and small, with an even more comprehensive suite of services. Together the two companies plan to expand their service packs to various industries including the aquarium space.

Each year 175 million people visit aquariums in the United States. There are, literally, hundreds of spaces for people to visit and those with young children often mark Dolphinariums or similar facilities down on their list of "things to do" on vacations and during school breaks. These spaces are fun, educational and can interest even the most disinterested of toddlers. While these spaces are wonderful attractions, people can't attend unless they know they exist. That is where MDS and Karma come into play. Together, the companies plans to launch a comprehensive service pack aimed directly at these entertainment and education facilities; the companies will offer a myriad of services ranging from mobile credit card processing, to search engine optimization, to invoice assistance and creative advertising campaigns.

The goal of MDS and Karma Snack is to raise awareness about the facilities that are currently available and to give those facilities all of the tools, services and backend support they need to flourish and survive in today's changing economy. These educational spaces have a special place in the hearts of staff members at both companies. Each staff member can remember, fondly, visiting one of those venues as children. Whether it was during a family vacation, or a class trip, everyone remembers entering a sea-inspired museum at some point during their childhood. The fun and wonderment was palpable and the learning was abundant. Times, however, have changed, and these facilities, although a staple in the museum world, must grow and expand to meet the ever changing needs of clients. That is where these two companies plan to come together and help.

Recent statistics show that more people search for activities online than through any other means. In decades past, many people focused on word-of-mouth recommendations; or simply asked the clerk at the hotel they were staying at for recommendations of places to visit. Those options still exist, but people seem to trust the internet more. The world has moved towards an "instant gratification' mentality. As information is readily available online, people spend hours researching, planning and purchasing tickets using the net, but before they can do any of that, they need to know a venue exists. Through MDS' wonderful merchant services options and Karma's knowledge of the marketing space, the two companies plan to ensure those businesses who sign up are featured prominently when people spend time on the web. Not only that, the companies plan to ensure customers have all the tools they need to make their trip and day fun, convenient and efficient.

All of these wonderful expansion opportunities for the sector begin with the ability to accept credit cards. MDS is an industry expert in the field. The company began with a desire to bring credit card terminals, credit card machines and merchant cash advances to companies that need them desperately to expand. Since than the company has helped build an empire that many businesses relay on.

Merchant Data Systems, a leader in merchant processing services, began nearly two decades ago. From its inception, the company aimed to provide business across all sectors and platforms with a means of achieving all of their goals. Starting small as a credit card processing provider the company grew exponentially. Today the company offers businesses of all sizes a comprehensive service pack that offers everything from invoicing solutions, to POS integration, to payroll solutions. One of MDS' most exciting service packs allows merchants to build an e-commerce platform with mobile payment options and shopping carts. MDS has long seen the value in the internet and today they are helping business expand as brick and mortar and online merchants. The team up with Karma Snack aims to expand on that exponentially.

Karma Snack, an industry leader in the online marketing space, has successfully completed 1,200 profitable campaigns over a myriad of different business sectors. The company has been responsible for viral videos, SEO optimization and creative advertising avenues for fortune 500 companies and small, mom-and-pop shops alike. They know the internet space like the back of their hands and work hard to ensure the right campaign is created for the right client at all times. Together with MDS, they believe strongly that they can bring success to the sea-aquariums and Dolphinariums. After all, the company does call South Florida home; just minutes from some of the most beloved and well-recognized sea-aquarium spaces in the country!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Don't store your credit card on shopping sites

Don't store your credit card on shopping sites

My single biggest temptation with online purchasing is to buy books for my Kindle. I absolutely love the ability to have a lot of books in my hand at any given time, and the idea of adding to my library without acquiring something that takes up physical space is very nice, too. (I do still like to own paper copies of books that mean a lot to me, but most of my reading now is either from library books or from digital editions of books.)

Part of the challenge I have with this is that ordering books for the Kindle can be incredibly easy. Amazon wants to store your credit card information and, once they have it, all you have to do is click once to buy a book. It's delivered to your device(s) without a second thought, except that you've just charged some amount ($1 to $15) to your credit card.

For a book junkie like me, that's a dangerous proposition. I either need a lot of willpower – which I really don't have – or I need smarter tactics.

Thankfully, there's a pretty straightforward tactic that really works well. I just don't keep a credit card number stored on the site.

It seems clunky at first. If I do make the decision to buy a Kindle book (or anything else from Amazon), I have to dig out my credit card, enter the info, and make sure the box is checked to ensure that my card info is not saved. It is clunky compared to a one-click system.

However, the clunkiness has a huge advantage for me.

In the time that it takes to do those things, I'm actually thinking about whether or not I really want to complete this purchase.

Do I need this thing that I'm entering my credit card number for? Should I even be buying this?

Can I get it at a better price elsewhere? Maybe I should shop around a bit first.

Can this item wait until later? I do have a lot of books to read already.

That pause is often enough to convince me to not buy the item at all. The fewer unnecessary items I buy, the more money I have in my pocket at the end of the month.

This philosophy works with any online retailer. Simply don't save your credit card information there and you'll find it much easier to resist the temptation to order.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Lord Hanningfield spent £286000 on Essex council credit card

Disgraced peer Lord Hanningfield spent more than £286,000 on a council credit card over a five-year period.

Essex county council has published a full list of Hanningfield's credit card spending between 2005 and 2010 as part of its review of spending at the authority. It details thousands of transactions, including spending on flights, train journeys, meals and hotel stays while the 71-year-old was leader of the authority.

The peer, from West Hanningfield, Essex, served nine weeks of a nine-month sentence last year after being convicted of falsely claiming £14,000 in parliamentary expenses. He was ordered to pay back more than £30,000.

This week City of London police announced it would be taking no further action after investigating his spending at the council, saying there was insufficient evidence. Between 2006 and 2011 Hanningfield was paid £236,644 in expenses and allowances.

The report found that although the peer had reimbursed costs identified as being personal spending, there had been issues with a lack of receipts and expenditure above recommended guidelines.

The leader of Essex council, Peter Martin, said since Hanningfield left the council, action had been taken to tighten the authority's "governance framework" by placing tighter controls on spending.

Martin said: "These improvements have strengthened our corporate governance and the Audit Commission's ethical governance review conducted in July 2011 concluded that we have made 'significant progress' at strengthening our governance arrangements.

"I am pleased that the police investigation is now closed and we are now able to move on. Lord Hanningfield was obviously a large part of the authority for a number of years but it is three years since he stepped down as leader and a lot has changed since then. It is now time to look forward rather than back."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

OfficeMax Launches New Credit Card for Businesses

OfficeMax® Incorporated (NYSE:OMX), a leader in office and facility supplies, technology and services, today announced a new store-brand credit card for small business customers. The new OfficeMax Business Credit Card, available through a new relationship between OfficeMax and Citi® Retail Services, provides businesses with a new, flexible credit option to help fund and manage their office expenses and free up critical capital to help keep their businesses running smoothly. The move also adds to OfficeMax's line of credit products to help customers purchase office supplies and services.

Business customers can apply for the OfficeMax Business Credit Card at and in stores nationwide and, upon approval, start making purchases instantly. Card members are automatically enrolled in the OfficeMax MaxPerks® Rewards program, allowing them to earn $25 in MaxPerks Rewards for every $500 spent on qualified purchases1. The card also offers benefits including no annual fee, a dedicated line of credit for office supplies and services, detailed tracking services on purchases and online account management. Additionally, business credit card holders will have opportunities to take advantage of periodic special extended financing and other promotions.

"The OfficeMax Business Credit Card extends lines of credit to small businesses that continue to face a challenging economic environment," said Michael Lewis, executive vice president and president of retail at OfficeMax. "We aim to remove barriers to purchases for our business customers. The new OfficeMax Business Credit Card is helping businesses obtain the necessities for their day-to-day operations and further, for their long-run success."

"We are thrilled to work alongside OfficeMax to provide business customers with a new, convenient payment option for office supplies and business services," said Craig Vallorano, executive vice president, Business Development and Strategy for Citi Retail Services, which provides retail credit card products and services to national and regional retailers across the U.S. "Citi Retail Services' family of retailers continues to grow, and OfficeMax is a valued addition."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

PayPal set to launch facial-recognition for ins-store purchasing via smartphones

THANKS to your smartphone, this will be the new face of shopping ... literally.

Forget about fumbling for coins or even a credit card when you are buying a coffee, selecting clothes or dining out all you need is a smartphone and a mug shot.

Simply show up, "check in" at a store on your handset via the web, place an order, and have a sales assistant confirm your photo ID when it flashes up on their terminal.

The technology tipped to explode over the next three years as Australians increasingly become inseparable from their phones and more comfortable using them to shop will be unveiled today by online payment provider PayPal.

Nielsen figures, to be released today, estimate annual purchases of goods and services using smartphones in Australia have rocketed from $155 million to $5.6 billion in just two years.

PayPal's innovation will be unfurled by the end of the week at Sydney fashion outlet Glue Store's Pitt St flagship site ahead of a rollout at other locations in Victoria, NSW and Queensland by the end of the year.

It will soon also be adopted at Sydney's Sonoma Bakery sites.

Guzman Y Gomez Mexican restaurants in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, the ACT and Western Australia are expected to be on board next year.

The cashless and cardless mobile transactions within physical stores are automatically charged to customers' PayPal accounts linked to their bank or credit card funds without the need to touch a point of sale terminal.

"We see this as becoming commonplace, particularly in cafes and fast food restaurants, in the next two to three years," PayPal Australia director of product and new business Andrew Rechtman said.

The initiative follows the steady spread of "contactless" card readers allowing consumers to wave or tap credit cards or mobile phones at registers to pay.

Westpac announced a smartphone scan and pay pilot earlier this year, while the Commonwealth Bank last year launched an iPhone case that can be waved in front of card readers for credit card payments.

PayPal, which first launched its development in the US last year, expects to roll out at many more stores.

"This is the first time we've enabled people to use their digital wallet physically in store. The boundaries between online and offline disappear when you have a smartphone in your hand."

Friday, November 9, 2012

Boost Your Credit Card Rewards

Credit cards can offer more than just miles and cash back. They can also help boost your future.

There are two major credit cards on the market that allow you to make certain types of investments with rewards, although there have been others in the past. The Upromise World Master Card allows cardholders to deposit their rewards into a 529 college savings plan or high-yield savings account, while Fidelity's investment-rewards cards offer a range of deposit options, including individual retirement accounts, 529 plans and brokerage accounts, to name a few.

It's a trend that has yet to take off. "There are certainly almost countless cash-back cards, miles cards and point-related rewards cards. The number of these investment-type cards, you can really count on one hand, which is sad because they're really good products," says John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education for credit-monitoring site

Still, investment-rewards cards can help boost your savings, especially for younger cardholders who have time to watch their rewards investments grow, but they also come with their own rules and restrictions. Here's how to decide if an investment credit card is right for you.

How they work

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
American Express, MasterCard and Visa cards...
PHOTO: Credit cards
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
American Express, MasterCard and Visa cards are displayed shown in New York, in this May 18, 2010 file photo.

Like other rewards cards, investment credit cards convert a certain percentage of each purchase into cash or points. After accumulating a significant amount, cardholders can then deposit those rewards into the investment account linked to the card or opt to receive the rewards as a check they can spend or deposit into an investment account that's not linked to their card. With Fidelity, cardholders also may use points for travel, gift certificates and other merchandise. With Upromise, cardholders can use rewards to pay down student loans taken out through Sallie Mae and can accumulate greater rewards by shopping through the company's online retail partners.

"I think you need to ask yourself, 'What kind of consumer am I? Am I someone who pays off my balance every month? Am I somebody who does a lot of online shopping?' People who fit both of those criteria will save the most and benefit the most from the card," says Debby Hohler, spokeswoman for Sallie Mae, Upromise's parent company.

There are a few significant differences among investment credit cards and other rewards cards, Ulzheimer says.

"You can fund an investment with thousands of dollars of money that you've earned through a rewards card, and that money can shrink in value. That doesn't normally happen with a rewards card," he says. "If you're not able to be comfortable with that type of an account, then this is not a rewards card for you."

Do the research

Investment card holders also should carefully evaluate the terms and conditions of the credit card as well as the investment products attached to it. That means doing some comparison shopping to make sure that you're getting a product with high performance and low fees.

"The thing that's important is to know, especially when you're in tax-deferred products (such as an IRA or 529 plan), is to understand the products, know where your thresholds are within those products and ensure that you're working with a company that has the ability to help you control and monitor what's going into those accounts," says William McLimans, senior vice president of cash management for Fidelity Investments.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Is a Google Wallet Credit Card in the Works?

So much for leaving the plastic at home — Google is rumored to be launching a real-life Google Wallet credit card.

The physical embodiment of the online payment service allegedly rolls all of the user's cards into one, allowing people to empty their pockets of anything but the Google Wallet card, and their app-equipped phone.

The search engine has not corroborated the allegation, which was plucked from a leaked version of the Android app. A spokesman told PCMag in an email that the company is "always working on ways to make shopping a better experience for consumers but do now have anything new to announce today."

Android Police last week reported that the card will automatically sync with the user's online account, setting the already-chosen credit card as the default. The Google Wallet card is expected to work anywhere major credit cards are accepted. Just open the smartphone app to make changes to the designated card or other preferences.

More details emerged today, as TechCrunch reported on a new help site that seemed to confirm the potential credit card. The Google website has since been modified, but TechCrunch was able to catch early references to the card on a page titled "Eligible Devices," which pointed to devices running Android 2.3.3 or higher able to use the Google Wallet card. A release date was not mentioned, however.

But wouldn't a Google Wallet card defeat the purpose of having mobile payments? BGR pointed out that many stores don't yet have Google Wallet systems to accept mobile payments, so in the meantime, people can use the card.

Google is trying to entice people to use its Wallet feature by setting up a website that asks interested smartphone users to sign up for an invitation to a new version of the app. The landing page, launched in October, tips compatibility with Android, iOS, and "other" platforms. Until the application is ready, Google urges visitors to set up their Google Wallet online.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pizza Hut hacked, customer info lost, credit card details safe

Pizza Hut Australia has confirmed its customer data was compromised during an hacking attack on its website but denied that any credit card information was lost during the incident.
The Pizza Hut website was allegedly hacked by a group called 0-Day and Pyknic with claims 240,000 credit card details were stolen in the process. Reports of the hacking event began to surface late last night.
Users that visited the Pizza Hut website were redirected to another page which claimed the website has been compromised.
A spokesperson for the company told ZDNet several hours ago that the company was still checking that claims of the hacking were actually true.
Pizza Hut general manager Graeme Houston issued a statement moments ago confirming a security breach.
"Pizza Hut can confirm that a layer of its website,, was breached with access gained to names and contact information, including email addresses," he said.
The fast food chain has, however, refuted the stolen credit card detail claims since, according to a company spokesperson, Pizza Hut doesn't hold any credit card information from customers.
"That one's a furphy," a Pizza Hut spokes person told ZDNet. "[Credit card information] goes through a third-party payment gateway."
What Pizza Hut does collect on its website is information through its online membership application process. This includes name, contact details, home address, and what kind of pizza has been marked as favourites by individual customers.
According to Houston, Pizza Hut is working with its website providers to conduct a thorough investigation and has reported the incident to the Office of the Information Commissioner.
"The security of our online ordering system has not been compromised in any way and our customers can continue to order online in the knowledge the ordering system is secure," Houston said. "During the current official investigation with relevant authorities, no further comment will be made by Pizza Hut."

Credit card-sized mobile simplified for oldies

Charity Age UK has unveiled a basic Sim-free mobile phone that lets users dial contacts directly with the touch of an oversized button.

The credit card-sized UK My Phone, jointly developed with specialist network operator CyCell, comes with a maximum of eight customised homescreen buttons, simplifying the art of speed-dial.

Age UK My Phone

No need for phone books, complicated email backups or squinting at tiny text on a high-res display, then.

There's little need for Sim-cards either, as this one comes built-in and buyers let Age UK know which numbers they'd like loading when they order. These are then set on the phone's front panel as bold buttons, which activate when pushing the handset's on-off switch, found to the rear.

Customers can have emergency services installed as one of the eight allotted numbers should they wish. The downside: you can't change the numbers or add new ones. Not without a replacement handset that is, at the cost of £40.

Each model comes with its phone number encrusted on the back so that oldies can jog their memory easily. Unlike most smartphones on the market, battery life is rated at a whopping five days.

The handset will cost users £55 alongside various 30-day rolling price-plans. These start at £7.50 a month for 50 minutes' talk time and rise to £15 a month for 500 minutes.

Age UK MyPhone

Alternatively customers can get the handset with a six-month bundle - 50 minutes each month - for a one-off fee of £87.50, potentially saving over £2 a month. It is worth noting that any calls made beyond these allocations will be charged at 15p per minute.

Either way, with Christmas coming up, perhaps the UK My Phone is worth a look-in as a mobile for Granny, should models such as John's Phone, be considered a smidgin too complex. ®

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Action Line: Credit card issuers pay $471 million for misleading customers

In all, Capital One, Discover and American Express must pay $471.1 million in customer refunds and government fines, under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, following an investigation begun last year by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and later joined by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Refunds go to 6 million credit cardholders as part of three settlements between credit card issuers and the CFPB.

Refunds: Card issuers are paying for misleading consumers into applying for credit cards or buying add-on services such as "payment protection, credit score tracking, identity theft protection and 'wallet protection.' " Cardholders will automatically receive refunds as account credits if their accounts are still open, or as refund checks in the mail if their accounts are closed. No consumer action is required. Refunds will arrive by March 15.

Penalty fees: In addition to consumer refunds the three issuers will pay a total of $66.5 million in penalties. The CFPB will receive $46.1 million of that penalty money - $7 million from Discover, $25 million from Capital One and $14.1 million from American Express - to be deposited into CFPB's Civil Penalty Fund (

American Express: Oct. 1, CFPB reported Amex will reimburse 250,000 cardholders $85 million: Consumers misled into paying old debts they thought would be reported to the credit bureaus will be reimbursed those amount plus interest. Amex will pay $300 to customers promised that amount of money for taking Blue Sky credit cards. Consumers paying illegal late fees will be reimbursed, by March 13, plus interest. Consumers promised debts would be forgiven but later denied new cards when debts were not forgiven will receive $100 and pre-approved offers for cards with terms approved by CFPB and FDIC (

Discover: Sept. 24, CFPB reported the company will pay $200 million to 3.5 million consumers misled into buying add-on products Dec. 1, 2007, through Aug. 31, 2011. Some were enrolled without their consent. Restitution goes to consumers who were misled by deceptive telemarketing and sales tactics that persuaded them to pay for credit card add-ons such as payment protection, credit score tracking, identity theft protection and "wallet protection." Customers will receive restitution based on dates of purchase and length of add-on ownership. Payment is at least 90 days' fees. Two million consumers will receive refunds of all fees paid (

Capital One: July 18, CFPB reported the company will pay $140 million in complete payment plus interest to 2 million consumers misled into paying for add-ons on or after Aug. 1, 2010. This also applies to those who tried to cancel products during that time but were persuaded to keep products by customer service reps and will pay claims denied for ineligibility at enrollment due to unemployment and disability (
Original Print Headline: Credit card issuers pay for misleading customers

Skype launches prepaid cards in UK: Available in over 1,400 stores, credit starts from £10

Skype has unveiled a series of prepaid cards for the UK, offering users without a credit card the ability to top-up their accounts starting from £10. A second £20 card will also be available in UK retailers including Asda, Currys, PC World, Sainsburys and bookseller WHSmith, with both denominations redeemable globally through the Microsoft company's online portal. While Mexico got there first, we've been told that more countries can expect their own currency-specific cards later this year. You'll be able to use the prepaid credit to pay for Skype subscriptions, including unlimited world calling bundles starting from £8.49 per month -- all in time for that incoming Windows Phone 8 app.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fake credit cards used in bank fraud

A WESTPAC employee is accused of creating fake credit cards to fleece the company of more than $110,000.
 Police from The Rocks Local Area Command were contacted by the bank's internal investigators on Friday morning in relation to fraud involving one of their employees.

The same morning, officers arrested a 25-year-old man outside his workplace at the corner of Market Street and Clarence Street in Sydney's CBD.

It will be alleged the man created nine fake credit card accounts and used them to withdraw a total of $113,930 from several ATMs over the past year.

He has been charged with nine counts of fraud and one count of knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.

The man is out on conditional bail and due to appear at Downing Centre Local Court on December 4.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Physical Google Wallet credit card reportedly coming soon

Google may soon drop a bombshell on the mobile commerce world as a report surfaced Thursday the company is preparing to launch a physical credit card.
Dubbed the "Google Wallet card," this piece of plastic is for those times users can't (or don't want to) tap and pay.
It will work just like a regular credit card anywhere major credit and debit cards are accepted.
The news comes from an anonymous tipster who gave Android Police the heads up that he had already received a confirmation email for his card.
Cut up the othersAccording to the Google Wallet cards set-up instructions, users can add credit and debit cards to the Google Wallet app, then use any of the
cards to make purhcases by using the Google Wallet card.
All users need to do is swipe their Wallet card and their default payment card in the Google Wallet app will get charged.
Whenever users want to switch to another card, they can simply select a different one through the app.
All cards - except Google's - can stay at home.
Swipe and swap it with ease (Credit: Android Police)
The card can be ordered through the Google Wallet app and sent to recipients' addresses, as was the case with the tipster.
Access to exclusive offers is also available and deals are instantly redeemable. If the card is lost, all a user needs to do is cancel their Google Wallet card - not every card they own.
Big surprisesThis may very well be the service Google recently opened sign ups for, though the "next version of Google Wallet" seemingly suggested the app would soon open to more devices, including iOS products.
However, it could all be part of a huge Google scheme to conquer the mobile (and beyond) commerce world.
While a physical card steals the lede, other new features are reportedly on the way as well.
More features are in the offing (Credit: Android Police)
A "Wallet Balance" feature looks like it will let users deposit and withdraw funds while a person-to-person money transfer feature is also coming.
There's also compelling evidence a transit card is part of the new Google Wallet package.
Whether the card and new features will extend beyond the U.S. isn't yet clear, but all this could make carrier approval obsolete for everything but tap payments.
A Wallet card would let owners of iOS and Windows Phone devices utilize a non-NFC version of the Google Wallet app, too.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

South Carolina suffers theft of 3.6M social security numbers

A server holding taxpayer and credit card information of residents of
the US state of South Carolina has been breached, resulting in the
exposure of 3.6 million social security numbers and 387,000 credit

In a press conference late last Friday in the US, representatives from
the state Department of Revenue confirmed the breach and the fact
that, of the credit cards, 16,000 were stored without encryption.

State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel told reporters that the
investigation so far had revealed that the intrusion had occurred as
early as August 27 this year, and had confirmed that the IP address
through which the attack originated was foreign in nature.

US Secret Service Agent Michael Williams said that its agency received
information regarding a possible incident on October 10, and it was at
this point that other law enforcement agencies and the governor were
informed of the breach.

As part of its response, independent information security company
Mandiant was engaged to provide advice on how to proceed. Mandiant
Director Marshall Heilman said that its first steps were to remove the
attacker's known access, deter the attack with additional security
measures, and enhance the systems' logging to enable law enforcement
to detect if the attacker returned.

"These types of breaches are not uncommon — they actually happen every
day. Most of them do not make the news, unless they are very large,"
Heilman said.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has already appointed Inspector
General Patrick Maley to further look at the state's information
security measures. Maley said that its first plan of order is to
establish a full time task force to examine each of the state's
systems and "triage" them.

But Haley is not just taking a defensive approach to the breach,
stating that she wants the person held accountable for their actions,
and "slammed against the wall."

"South Carolina has come under attack, but South Carolina is going to
fight back in every way possible," she said.

"It's no longer about just inside hackers, it's about international hackers."

"Our state will respond with a big, large-scale plan that is somewhat
unprecedented, to take care of this problem."

However, with the investigation still ongoing, Keel has stated that
"no further information regarding specifics of the investigation will
be released at this time," as the disclosure of more information could
hinder efforts to bring the hacker to justice.

Haley asked South Carolina residents for patience, stating that "when
any law enforcement division tells you, 'this will hurt our situation
for this to get out', we need to be conscious of the fact that we need
to let them to their job."

"What were my instructions to [law enforcement]? Slam him to the wall.
The only way I can make sure that can happens is that I give them the
ability to do their job without any confusion, and be able to get this
person. That's what I want. I want to be able to get this person and
make sure he can never do this to any body or any state."

Friday, October 26, 2012

How to maximize credit card rewards at restaurants

Enjoying a meal at a restaurant can be a luxury for the frugal while it is a necessity for those who travel for business or pleasure. And while many profess the need to save money on dining by skipping appetizers, drinks, or desert, there are ways to order whatever you want while saving money by using your credit cards strategically.

First, choose the best credit card for eating out. Currently, the top rewards card for dining is the Citi Forward Visa (V). It offers five ThankYou points for each dollar spent at restaurants and on entertainment. Points can then be redeemed for one cent each towards gift cards or flights booked through Citi (C). The American Express (AXP) Blue Sky Preferred returns 2.66 cents back in statement credits for each dollar spent at restaurants, hotels, and on car rentals. Other contenders are the Sapphire and Sapphire Preferred cards from Chase which offer two Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and dining.

Next, be sure to register your cards with your favorite airline's dining program. Delta (DAL), United (UAL), American Airlines, US Airways (LCC), Southwest Airlines (LUV) and others all offer similar dining programs that feature up to five miles per dollar spent at eligible restaurants. Many of these programs also include valuable bonus offers. For example, the Delta SkyMiles program currently offers an additional 1,200 bonus miles after spending $25 in dining within your first 30 days of enrollment.

  • Can you really get your credit score for free?
  • The best travel perks your credit card can get you
  • The rewards card catch everyone forgets: Annual fees

Another way to leverage your credit card rewards is to purchase gift cards through your credit card's online shopping portal. For example, the Chase (JPM) Ultimate Rewards website offers an additional 12 points per dollar when you purchase discount certificates at

But what you probably do not want to do is to redeem points and miles for gift cards valid at restaurants. For instance, the Membership Rewards program from American Express offers gift cards for many restaurant chains at a rate of one cent per point. At that rate, you might as well redeem your points for cash back and earn more points when you purchase dinner. Even its special deals, such as 4,250 points for a $50 gift certificate at Ruth's Chris Steak House, only equates to about 1.18 cents in value per point. In contrast, 100,000 Membership Rewards points could be transferred to miles with one of 16 different airline partners in order to earn a business class award ticket to Europe, easily worth 4-8 cents per point.

There are many ways to use your credit card to earn points, miles, and cash back when visiting restaurants. But just be sure not to waste your precious credit card rewards on low value gift cards.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Justin Bieber stole credit card

Justin Bieber paid for his penis enlargement with a stolen credit card, and cheated on girlfriend Selena Gomez with Ke$ha, Rihanna and Penelope Cruz, according to a new lawsuit.

Bieber has been sued in Michigan by a man claiming to be Gomez's father, who makes some of the most insane allegations ever documented in court, TMZ reported.

The man is reported to have said in the court documents that Bieber borrowed 426.78 dollars from him to pay for an abortion for Gomez.

"This money was used as abortion money because Justin Bieber got my daughter Selena pregnant in my bedroom, on my canadian bear rug," he wrote.

The most ludicrous claim in the lawsuit regards singer Usher, who signed Bieber to his label.

"Usher Raymond came to my house on the forth (sic) of july 2012 and sodomised me with a firework and lit it inside my anal area while blaring kate perry (sic) firework song in my ear drum," the man said.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

MasterCard and Banca Monte Paschi Belgio launch dual debit-credit card

MasterCard and Belgium's Banca Monte Paschi Belgio have unveiled a dual debit and credit card which also includes a display screen for passcodes that secure online payments.

Launching early next month, the 'PaschiCombo' card - which also includes PayPass contactless functionality - comprises of a Maestro debit card on one side and MasterCard credit card on the other.

This, claim the partners, makes it the most widely accepted in the world, covering terminals at 14 million Maestro-friendly merchants and 34 million MasterCard outlets.

When customers want to make a purchase, they simple insert their PaschiCombo card into a conventional payment terminal and use the keypad to select to pay with Maestro for a debit payment or with MasterCard for a credit payment.

Meanwhile, the card also includes a button, which users press to create a unique pass code which appears on a display screen and can be entered online to secure Web purchases.

Dino Albanese, member, management committee, Banca Monte Paschi Belgio, says: "We may be the oldest bank in the world today, but we also want to be the most innovative. The PaschiCombo card is without doubt the most innovative card in the world, accepted by the most extensive network in the world."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dynamics launches its ePlate battery-powered credit card to create 'payment apps'

Dynamics is hoping to turn the credit card and payment industries upside down with an innovative new kind of smart card and payment system. The ePlate system is a way for developers to get direct data on customer purchases and extra revenues from each transaction via "payment apps." With ePlate, Dynamics hopes to change the way people pay for goods and services by motivating them to earn some very specific rewards from their favorite book authors or other goods providers. And, in a twist that could motivate a lot of partners to join the rewards program, the book author or the goods providers get a cut of every transaction made with the credit card.

That completely changes the way the card operates and the benefit that the consumer receives from using it. Dynamics' system includes the ePlate payment device, which is a battery-powered Visa credit card that allows a consumer to change the app that is running on the card. You can apply for a card today on Dynamics' site, and you can change the reward you earn with every purchase.

Dynamics has gathered a bunch of partners to participate in what it calls an "ecosystem of experience providers." Each delivers an individualized brand experience to the consumer via an app on the ePlate card. Before purchasing, a consumer selects multiple experience apps on their smartphone, tablet, or computer to port to their ePlate device. At the time of purchase, the consumer can use different buttons on the ePlate device to select different "experience apps." Those apps give the consumer a reward whenever they use the card.

Each experience provider gets 50 basis points, or half a percent of the value of every transaction. So for a $100 purchase, the provider gets 50 cents.

Dynamics founder and chief executive Jeff Mullen (pictured right), said in an interview with VentureBeat, "You can get your reward before you put your card into your wallet."

More than 30 apps will be available at launch. The first generation device has two buttons on it, so you can store two different applications on the card. You can use your PC or smartphone to select the experience apps that you want to have on the card.

The system is the brainchild of Mullen, who said his team worked on the technology for 2.5 years.

The ePlate cards have batteries that last three years and they work with the existing 60 million mag-stripe credit card readers in the market today. The cards have 70 electronic components embedded within a plastic card.

"We form the card around the electronics," Mullen said.

He said that integrating ePlate into the payment system "is so fast that consumer benefits for an 'app' will be delivered before consumers can even put their ePlate device back into their wallet."

He added, "The result of the ePlate device is a new payments landscape – where a consumer can earn exclusive, disproportionately valued benefits instantly in ways never before envisioned.  This holiday season, consumers will have a second decision to make at the point-of-sale – first, what to purchase; and second, what app to experience with that purchase."

One example of an experience app comes from Warren Adler, the best-selling author of dozens of books including The War of the Roses, which was made into a popular film. Each time a consumer spends $400, he or she earns one of 29 different Warren Adler ebooks. That may be a $5 to $15 value for the consumer (depending on the price of the eBook), and $2 goes to Adler himself.

Within seconds of qualifying for the purchase, the consumer gets an email with a link to instantly download the book. Adler has also written an exclusive novel for ePlate users. With every earned book, the consumer earns a chapter of the new exclusive work. Any consumer that earns all 29 Warren Adler eBooks also gets a signed physical copy of The War of the Roses delivered to his or her doorstep, Mullen said.

When I saw the ePlate platform, I thought this was an innovative way to engage my fans," said Adler. "I also wanted to reward them with a unique way to experience more of my books and a way to reward them with an exclusive work."

Dark Horse Comics has created two new comic book series for ePlate, including one called Conan: The Phantoms of the Black Coast. Another is the team-up of two separate characters: X and Ghost and Captain Midnight. Upper Deck, the trading card company, will introduce a series of collectible cards.

Founded in 2007, Dynamics is a familiar company to readers of VentureBeat. The company debuted at the DEMO conference in September, 2010, and walked away with the top $1 million prize as DEMOgod. In June 2011, Dynamics raised $35 million from Bain Capital Ventures for its computerized smart cards and payment systems. To date, the company has raised $40.7 million. And Mullen appeared at the DEMO Spring 2012 conference in April to unveil the first details of the ePlate payment system. The company has almost 100 employees, up from 24 employees a little more than a year ago.

Consumers can apply for a Dynamics ePlate credit card on the company's web site.

"We are covering all of the categories and will introduce new experiences as we go," Mullen said. "You'll see individuals like celebrities, authors and athletes. We can partner with time-sensitive and seasonal brands. And we can partner with the brands you wouldn't see on a credit card."

RBS launches 23-month interest-free balance transfer credit card

The competition for balance transfer credit card customers has intensified today after the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and NatWest unveiled new 23-month interest-free credit card offer.

Both RBS and NatWest have launched new balance transfer cards that will enable them to join Barclaycard and HSBC at the top of the best-buy tables for the length of the interest-free period, though Barclaycard still trumps the new products with a lower balance transfer fee of 2.8 per cent.

RBS's card charges a fee of 3.5 per cent on the balance transferred and HSBC charges 3.3 per cent.

MBNA also joined the party today with the launch of a 14-month interest-free offer on its balance transfer credit card. Although the zero-interest period is not as long, the fee is MBNA's lowest ever at just 1.25 per cent.

RBS's Platinum Extended Balance Transfer Card also offers six months interest-free on purchases and has an interest rate of 17.9 per cent.

However, the new card may not be available to everyone as the bank's last balance transfer card required applicants to have a spotless credit record and it is likely that the same conditions will apply.

Michael Ossei, personal finance expert at, says: "Competition in the credit card market is fierce and it's good to see NatWest and RBS now going into battle with Barclaycard, which currently tops the tables with its 23-month 0% balance transfer card.

"These 0% balance transfer cards can save borrowers hundreds of pounds in interest, but consumers must be aware of the fees. The NatWest and RBS card carries a 3.5% fee, compared to Barclaycard's 2.8% - this means transferring a typical £5,000 balance to the NatWest and RBS card will cost £175, as opposed to £140 with Barclaycard.

"However, as always the devil lies in the detail. A market-leading product is only beneficial to consumers if they can actually get their hands on it. NatWest's previous 22-month balance transfer card proved extremely elusive for those without a squeaky clean credit rating."


Monday, October 22, 2012

Smart things to know about interest charged on credit cards

Here is a look at 5 things you should know about the interest charged on credit cards

1) Interest is charged on the outstanding balance on a credit card if only the minimum or partial amount is paid by the specified date, not the full amount that is due. This is called the 'revolving credit facility'.

2) There is an interest-free period, during which the amount used on a credit card does not attract any interest. This is the duration between the first day of the billing cycle and the day on which the payment is due.

3) If a credit card is on revolving credit, all new purchases on the card will also attract the interest rate from the transaction date till such time that the dues are cleared. There is no interest-free period till all the dues are paid.

4) The interest rate is typically disclosed by the credit card companies as a monthly percentage. The interest payable depends on the rate, outstanding amount and the number of days for which the amount due remains unpaid.

5) A late payment fee is charged if the due amount is not paid by the specified date. Service tax is applicable on interest and other fees and is included to ascertain the total amount that is due.

The Most Affordable Methods for Accepting Credit Card Payments

If your online business accepts credit card payments, you likely understand that there are an incredible number of fees involved in doing so. You will be charged transaction fees, interchange fees and authorization fees, among others. Accepting a credit card payment for a $100 invoice can easily cost you between $2.00 and $5.00, depending on the third-party processor you choose to use. If you are fed up with the fees associated with the acceptance of credit cards, you have options. Here are five online alternatives to traditional merchant accounts:
PayPal is a great alternative to merchant accounts, provided you are selling is relatively inexpensive. If the items that you sell or the services that you provide cost less than $1,000, PayPal can be your best friend. The fees for accepting payments via Paypalare low enough to make it worth using instead of a traditional merchant account. PayPal is also convenient for your customers who can pay online or in person using their PayPal MasterCard debit card. Payments that you receive can then be transferred into your business checking account for free.
If you have a website and sell your goods or services online, E-Junkie can provide you with a virtual shopping cart, buy now buttons and can help with inventory management. Rather than acting as a third-party, E-Junkie allows users to pay for your goods and services in a variety of ways, including PayPal, Google Checkout, ClickBank and 2CheckOut, among others. Plan levels with E-Junkie vary from $5 per month to $265 per month, depending on how many items you offer for sale. Free checkouts and unlimited sales are provided with all plans.
3. Google Checkout
Google Checkout works in a similar way to PayPal in that customers can purchase your goods through a simplified online payment platform. Google Checkout touts itself as one of the best online payment options with no setup, gateway or monthly fees charged to your business. Google Checkout operates on a tiered system where fees per transaction are concerned. If you have less than $3,000 in monthly sales, for instance, you will be charged 2.9 percent, plus $0.30, per transaction. Once you reach over $100,000 in sales per month, your transaction fees will fall to 1.9 percent plus $0.30.
4. Yahoo Merchant Services
Yahoo Merchant Services allows virtual store owners to accept PayPal payments, checks, POs, CODs, money orders, credit and debit cards. Payments are sent through the FDMS payment gateway at no charge to the business owner. Like E-Junkie, Yahoo features include those that keep track of inventory, manage shopping carts and orders, and even provide site statistics at a glance.
5. Bill Me Later
Bill Me Later is a service of PayPal that allows consumers to pay bills in installments. There are a number of options for merchants when it comes to credit card processing and more customers are turning toward the service as an option. While there are different fee levels for business owners, those who benefit most are merchants who sell high-dollar items.
Relying on technology as a means of receiving payment can be nerve-wracking at first, but if you want to keep your business on track, you must look for ways in which you can cut costs whenever possible. Go here to find ways to keep your business on the right path. Instead of paying the high fees associated with traditional merchant accounts, look to the five options above for your credit card processing needs. At the end of the day, even saving one percent on every transaction can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per year.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

American Express Sees Higher Profit in Q3;Reported Increase in Credit Card Spending (AXP)

Global service company, American Express Company(AXP) on Thursday reported higher earnings for their third quarter.

The New York based company announced that their third quarter revenue increased by 4 percent from $7.57 billion to $7.87 billion, and their net income rose by one percent.

The company reported profit of $1.25 billion, or $1.09 a share, compared with $1.24, or $1.03 a share from last year's third quarter. Analysts had predicted sales of $7.9 billion, or $1.09 per share.

The increase in revenue is a result of lower expenses and increased credit card spending by their customers. Spending by the company's customers increased by 8% during the July to September period, compared to same period of time last year. Global spending increased by 6%.

American Express shares were down 67 cents, or 1.13% during premarket trading Thursday.

The Bottom Line

American Express Company(AXP) is not recommended at this time, holding a DARS™ Rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mastercard under fire for tracking customer credit card purchases to sell to advertisers

Mastercard has come under fire for tracking its US customer's purchases and selling the data to advertisers.
The credit card company's MasterCard Advisors Media Solutions Group boasts it can target the most affluent customers and tell advertisers who is most likely to buy their products.
The firm does this by tracking a consumer's credit card details - although it says their identity remains secret.
However, it refuses to reveal how the system works, and a privacy group today accused the firm of 'treating details of our personal behaviour like their own property.'

'The foundation of all of our solutions is transaction data,' Susan Grossman, senior vice president at MasterCard Advisors Media Solutions Group said in a presentation seen by MailOnline.
When a consumer swipes a credit card in a store, she says MasterCard's data-packaging division receives information about the date, time, amount and merchant.
The firm tracks billions of anonymous transactions from customers, which it then aggregates into small segments which comprise of similar transactions.

This allows the firm to sell details of these very specific 'segments' of data to advertisers.

'What if you could know the biggest week for spend and then reach those shoppers who are twice as likely to spend leading up to that week and then create campaigns?', the firm asks in an online presentation .
Called 'Leveraging MasterCard Data Insights to Reach Holiday Shoppers', the presentation is designed to attract advertisers.
However, the firm refuses to reveal how offline MasterCard purchases would follow you online to make you a target for specific ads.

In the presentation, Grossman called MasterCard's methods 'proprietary.'

But she says none of the data collected or sold includes personally identifiable information such as names or addresses.
MasterCard, which processes 34 billion transactions a year in 210 countries and territories, said it started the initiative in February.

Ms Grossman said protecting privacy was 'core' to MasterCard's values.
'We recognise that consumers entrust us with their information so it is of the utmost importance that we ensure no individual or personally identifiable information is used in our media solutions product,' she said.
Ms Grossman said the company's main clients for much of their history had been their issuing banks and for them MasterCard did a significant amount of statistical modelling and predictive modelling and found that those propensity models were application to companies other than banks, such as media.
Nick Pickles, director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: 'If this data has value, then it should be up to Mastercard to ask customers for permission to use their information and offer consumers something in return.

'Instead they are treating details of our personal behaviour like their own property to be bundled up and sold on without any regard to what customers might want.
'Have Mastercard made any effort to seek customer's consent for processing their shopping habits and selling it on? How do consumers opt out? It's exactly this kind of behaviour that leads consumers to question whether companies are more interested in their own profit than respecting people's privacy.'

Mastercard today confirmed the scheme's existence.

A spokesman for Mastercard said: 'MasterCard is committed to protecting individual privacy.

'No personally identifiable information is collected, disclosed or used in the analysis and development of any products or services.
'In creating MasterCard Audiences, MasterCard uses aggregated and anonymized transaction data.

'MasterCard's transaction data does not contain the cardholder's name or any other personal data.
'The service leverages anonymized and aggregated transaction data to provide clients with insight into trends around US consumer buying behavior based on custom audience segments or specified categories including Restaurant, Hotel, Travel, Retail, Financial Services, Automotive, Entertainment, and Telco/Cable.'

The firm also said the scheme was only running in the US.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

UAE banks turn on credit tap: Raise limits, issue new cards… not even asked for

Customers of at least three major banks in the UAE have informed this website that they have received an increased credit limit they did not ask for and/or a free, new credit card, again, not requested.

One bank rewarded a select batch of "loyal" customers with an increased allowance on their credit cards, without any prior intimation.

When the customer contacted the call centre agent, she was informed that an SMS had been sent out to every one informing of the increase.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, the customer in question said,  "I never got any SMS and only when I swiped my credit card at a store did I learn that my credit limit was raised."

"It's strange, how, I wasn't even asked whether I wanted more cash allowance or not," she added.

When Emirates24|7 contacted the bank's call centre, they confirmed the mark-up and said it was a show of "appreciation" for select customers.

"The mark-up ranges from Dh1,000 to Dh10,000," the agent said.

He also insisted the bank had sought approval via SMS.

One customer argued: "Unrequested hikes in credit limit could tempt many to step over their budget and splurge.

"It could lead to a debt trap if the customer is not careful."

When the customer informed the bank that she never received any text message, she was told that it might have been an oversight and she could opt out at any time.

"Isn't it strange that I have to reject an offer I never asked for in the first place?"

Another resident complained that he actually got a credit card that he had never applied for.

"I was surprised when I got a call from the bank telling me that I will receive my new credit card shortly.

"In fact, the courier with the card arrived an hour after that call," says RM.

"I told them I didn't want it and sent it back."

Ritesh, who already has a car loan with the bank, wasn't keen on taking up on an unwanted cash offer.

A spokesperson for Mashreq told this website: "We have not revised our credit strategy. Nothing of that sort in Mashreq."

At the time of publishing EmiratesNBD had still to revert on their current credit policy.


Credit card cashback deals: Can you really get 6pc?

Shoppers are being offered up to 6 pc cashback for simply spending on plastic.
Card companies are locked in a war over perks as they try to sign up new customers.
But these cash rewards can be loaded with tricks such as introductory offers, a ceiling on how much you can earn and stringent terms and conditions.

Annual fees of up to £25 are also muddying the waters and risk wiping out gains for borrowers who struggle to repay their spending each month.
'These products are getting more complex and tend to favour certain shopping types — for example, only paying if you shop exclusively with a small number of retailers or if you're a regular driver who fills their tank once a week,' says Kevin Mountford, head of banking at price comparison website Moneysupermarket.
'It's vital to ensure you check the details and go for the one that best reflects your behaviour.'
The cashback card battle hotted up last week with the launch of Barclaycard's latest deal.
With its offer of up to 6 pc on spending, it will pay £221 tax-free a year to anyone who piles £1,000 a month on to the card.

For a large family with big bills, 6 pc could add up to much more.
If your supermarket spend, fuel costs and general shopping added up to £3,000 a month, Barclaycard would pay you £521 each year.
But the card carries onerous terms and conditions.
The 6 pc is only for three months, and is limited to £120.
Barclaycard also insists you make at least 15 purchases a month to qualify for its 6 pc deal.
Fail to do so and you'll earn only 0.5 pc on all spending.
In the second year you have the card, the loss of the 6 pc cashback will be keenly felt.
On a £10,000 annual spend (assuming five top purchases at £75 to meet further terms and conditions), the cashback drops from £175 to £110, calculations from Moneysavingexpert show.
Similarly, American Express offers 5 pc cashback, but only for three months. After this, the rate plummets to 1.25 pc.
Rival Santander pays up to 3 pc cashback, but it is specifically targeted — 1 pc on supermarket spend, 2 pc in department stores and 3 pc on petrol.
Spend £3,000 across 12 months — 10 pc in supermarkets, 10 pc on fuel and 5 pc in department stores — and the annual fee of £24 will actually leave you £9 worse off.
But for big spenders, it can be worth it.
Separate figures from Money-supermarket highlight how a family spending £1,500 or more on the card each month, including lots on fuel — perhaps with two cars — would earn £272 a year.
On a £3,000 monthly spend, the annual benefit with Santander is £474.
But those looking to profit from their big fuel spend have their 3 pc cashback capped at £108 a year.
And the number of retailers allowing you the 2 pc cashback is limited. Worse, the bank makes it hard to see the names of retailers involved.
Though it includes Debenhams and John Lewis, rather than list these on its website, it asks you to type in the store's name to see if it qualifies.
Cashback credit cards have mushroomed in popularity over the past few years, offering ever greater sums.
Lenders are keen to attract borrowers to reward cards, hoping they will slip up and not repay their debt every month — losing out on the cashback benefit.
'This is why the golden rule for any borrower applying for a cashback card is to ensure your spending is always paid off each month,' says Justin Modray at financial advice site Candidmoney.
'The easiest way to do this is set up a direct debit that clears your debt each month. But make sure you've always got enough funds available to do this.'
Lenders are also tapping into demand from customers keen to trade their loyalty to a store for what is effectively money off.
In July, for example, Asda launched its Money credit card. This pays 1 pc cashback on all  in-store shopping and at any Asda petrol station, plus 0.5 pc on all spending elsewhere.
Cashback cards will work only for borrowers who can be sure to repay all their spending each month.
If not repaying each month is a distinct possibility, instead pick a card that charges you the lowest interest on your spending.

Credit Card Guide Helps People to Avoid Exorbitant Fees and Sky High Rates

Art Branch, Inc., the parent company of announced today the publication of a low-interest credit card guide (, intended for Canadian consumers who are looking for affordable credit solutions.

The new guide was created by the content development team at Art Branch, Inc. and is the result of extensive research on popular Canadian credit cards. The guide was published on, which presents in-dept reviews of credit cards available to consumers and small businesses in Canada. The section was added in response to requests from visitors and features reviews and comparisons of low-interest credit cards.

"Affordable credit is very important for Canadian consumers and small businesses; however, many can't borrow funds at reasonable rates. Canadians who are looking for credit but are unable to get an unsecured credit line from their bank may want to look at low-interest credit cards," said John Wilson, marketing consultant at Art Branch, Inc.

The new guide presents 17 low-interest credit cards offered by AMEX, VISA and MasterCard. Costumers have the opportunity to compare interest rates and annual fees and will find a comprehensive review for each product.

Some people have fair or less-than-perfect credit scores, and this makes them unlikely candidates for a low-cost credit line from their bank. While there are better borrowing options than a credit card, a low-interest card is a good choice compared to payday loans and other products with extremely high interest rates. Some people villainize credit cards, and there are urban legends and annoying myths about them. The truth is that using a low-interest card can help people in lean days. Financial setbacks happen for many reasons – death of a partner, major illness, demotion, and divorce. Even the rich and famous have been hit by tough times, and some celebrities live under huge amounts of debt. While an emergency fund can cover financial gaps, few people can afford such luxuries. A low-interest credit card is a good option for people who are coping with a major, life-changing event. It is not a tool to rectify one's financial woes, but it allows recession-hit people and those in financial straits to borrow at reasonable rates.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Google eyes Australia's credit card business

Google has signalled the potential expansion of its new credit card offering in Australia in the opening salvo of an offensive against the financial services industry.
Last week the technology giant used its huge cash reserves to launch its first credit card in the US and the UK – AdWords Business Credit.
The pilot project, which is supported by Barclays Bank and Mastercard in the UK, is seen as a small but important step towards taking on the traditional banks on their own turf.
But Google Australia told The Australian Financial Review  the US and UK were just the beginning.
"The US and UK are not the only countries where our advertisers face limited access to credit," he said. "Google is interested in using its financial resources to help advertisers with access to ample credit at attractive rates wherever possible."

Innovation wave two

According to a report by the Financial Times, businesses can borrow up to $US100,000 a month to pay for Google Adwords, the world's biggest internet advertising system.
The interest rates of 8.99 per cent in the US and 11.9 per cent in the UK are lower than most other credit cards.
Capgemini financial services head René Borghgraef said the move did not represent new technology but was a significant step into financial services for a company that was born as a internet search engine.
"I think this is definitely part of what we call the 'innovation wave two'," he said. "The front-end customer-facing space . . . is where [Google] is changing the market dramatically.
"I think this is probably a first step for Google . . . and while this is a business-to-business offering, it will probably bring this into the consumer market as well."

tech firms next big threat

The move by the tech giant to offer traditional banking services is further confirmation of warnings by analysts and banking chiefs around the world about the rising threat of technology companies in the traditional banking space.
Commonwealth Bank's Ian Narev told The Australian Financial Review  in June that multinational tech firms such as Google and Facebook were the next big threats.
"Regardless of the names, whether it be Google or Facebook, the principle is the same: they have very high technology capabilities, very strong brand appeal, low legacy challenges. I consider that to be a real challenge," he said.
MWE Consulting director Mike Ebstein, who was previously general manager of ANZ's cards division, said Australia's credit-card market was unattractive to new entrants but added Google could win major market share in the mid-term.
"Virgin demonstrated six years ago that the combination of a powerful brand and strong value proposition can work, so yes [Google] could do it," he said.

"Over time as Gen Y and Gen X mature and we increasingly move with technology, the power of the banks will be relatively diminished."

apple's banking ability

Consult Hyperion director David Birch has worked with Google and various payment schemes around the world.

He said Apple had the world's biggest credit-card database and could easily become a powerful player if it applied its abilities to banking.
"Apple has a very good record of coming up with easier and better ways of doing things," he said.

"People might complain about iTunes and how the music isn't theirs but they all use it because it's easy.
"If they can use Apple Passbook to bring that degree of simplicity and ease to messing around with all my store loyalty cards and messing around with my coupons or boarding passes, then I'll use it."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Credit Card Delinquency Soars

The number of delinquent credit card users has shot up over the past three years due to the economic slowdown. Data released by the Financial Supervisory Service on Sunday shows roughly 180,000 people defaulted on their credit card payments in 2011, up 29 percent from a year earlier.

The figure is even higher than in 2009, immediately after the global financial crisis.

From 2009 to 2011, the number of credit card defaulters reached nearly 500,000 and the amount of overdue debt stood at roughly US$2.3 billion.

Most of the defaulters are ranked in the medium to low range of creditworthiness, and the increase in their number reflects risks of worsening household debt. Korea is already grappling with growing household debt, which is expected to dent consumer spending and economic growth.